7-19-13 PSC keeps probe into Potomac Edison billing alive

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CHARLESTON — The Public Service Commission of West Virginia has denied a request from FirstEnergy to dismiss the agency’s investigation into meter reading, billing and customer service practices of Potomac Edison and Mon Power.

Instead, on Friday, the commission ordered First Energy to file specific metrics detailing customer service provided by the company.

The information sought includes the number and the percentage of customers who have received two or more consecutive estimated bills; current employment levels of meter readers; the number and types of complaints received by FirstEnergy; the number and percentage of customer complaints resolved on the first call to FirstEnergy and the number of customers placed on deferred payment plans.

The information requested by the commission is to begin with the most recent billing cycle and is to be filed on a monthly basis for at least one year.

The commission also said it will hold public comment hearings in the FirstEnergy service areas after it had received and reviewed the first two monthly reports.

The commission initiated the investigation last month after receiving numerous customer complaints.  At that time the commission stressed that the purpose of the general investigation was not to address individual customer bills.  Instead, the proceeding would focus on the practices, policies and procedures in place at Mon Power and PE and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses at a structural level.

In addition to the general investigation, commission staff is continuing to pursue individual customer complaints.  Customers who believe they have received inaccurate or excessive estimated bills are encouraged to contact their electric company.  Customers not satisfied with the company’s response should contact the commission’s consumer affairs staff at 1-800-642-8544.

Mon Power and PE serve approximately 520,000 customers in 37 West Virginia counties.

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